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Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

In 2017, we began to transition from a manual water meter reading process to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. This innovative technology will upgrade how we read your water meter and when completed in 2020, will provide you with better service through enhanced reliability and improved efficiency. The new devices use safe radio signals to wirelessly transmit water usage information over a dedicated, secure communication channel, eliminating the need for manual meter reading.

Accurate, efficient and reliable, AMI:

The RWA hired Contract Callers, Inc. (CCI) to install the new advanced meter reading devices. Installation generally takes less than an hour and involves attaching the AMI endpoint to the customer’s existing water meter, usually where the existing meter reading device is located.

In some cases, the RWA may need to install a new water meter to ensure compatibility with the device. There is no cost for the new meter reading device or the installation. Customers should receive a letter and a flyer that explains what to expect. To make it easier for customers to schedule an appointment, please click on the live chat feature at the bottom of this web page: www.contractcallers.com/rwa.

For customers’ safety, all RWA and CCI personnel have identification badges. CCI installers wear blue uniforms with a CCI logo. They carry two forms of photo identification: an RWA contractor badge and a CCI badge. The contractor’s vehicles are white and have CCI and RWA logos on both sides.

The RWA encourages customers to always ask for identification from anyone who comes to their door and to maintain a “no identification - no entry” policy. Customers can call the RWA at 203-562-4020 to verify that installers are working in their neighborhood. CCI will also register installation activities with local police departments and the RWA’s Police Department.

 

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Q

What is AMI?

A

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is an automated and efficient meter reading technology that is being implemented across the United States at many water, electric and gas utilities. The RWA is the first water utility in Connecticut to use AMI technology. It allows us to wirelessly gather water usage data for billing purposes, eliminating the need to visit homes and businesses in south central Connecticut to read meters.

Q

Will all RWA customers receive this new advanced meter reading device?

A

Yes, the RWA will convert all customers to the advanced meter reading devices as part of the system upgrade.

Q

Is the new water meter and reading device free?

 

There is no cost for the new water meter, the meter reading device or the installation.

Q

How does AMI work?

A

An advanced meter reading device will be installed at your home or business. The device is connected to your water meter and sends a very low-powered signal from your outside water device to the RWA’s office in New Haven. The signal sent by this device will not affect your property, garage door openers or other electrical devices that may be used in your home.

Q

Is my water meter and the AMI meter reading device safe?

A

The water meter located inside your home or meter vault mechanically operates as a result of water flowing through the meter. It does not emit any low-frequency signals. Your water meter and the outdoor AMI meter reading device are absolutely safe. Your new meter will communicate water use information with the RWA through a low-frequency radio signal, similar to what is already being used by electric and gas utilities in Connecticut. The radio frequency emissions produced by these meter reading units are minimal compared to cell phones, microwaves, baby monitors, garage door openers, wireless routers and other common devices. Studies of the signals used by AMI meters have found no adverse short- or long-term health effects.

Q

What is involved in the installation?

A

We may be able to convert your present meter reading device located outside your house by using the existing wires. In some cases, Contract Callers, Inc. (CCI) – RWA’s approved installer – will need to go into your basement to connect the wire from your water meter to the new outdoor meter reading device. We will also exchange some older water meters to a model compatible with the new outdoor meter reading device. The CCI installer may need to gain access to your basement in order to exchange the meter and/or connect the wire from your water meter to the new meter reading device. Existing wiring holes will be used whenever possible and, when necessary, a small hole (less than one inch in diameter) will be drilled and properly caulked.

Q

Will my water service be interrupted during AMI installation?

A

If we need to upgrade your water meter to a newer model, water service will be interrupted for 15 to 20 minutes so that the new water meter can be replaced.

Q

What are the vendor safety and installation requirements?

A

The RWA takes safety very seriously for customers, employees and contractors. Our field service crews and CCI will install these meter upgrades. All of our contractor partners are required to meet the same stringent background checks, strict safety guidelines and high standards of professionalism as RWA field staff. In addition, all CCI personnel will have RWA identification badges and be driving vehicles showing both the RWA and CCI logos.

Q

How do I schedule an appointment to have my AMI meter installed?

A

You can schedule an appointment with CCI by calling 1-844-375-2272, Monday through Saturday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. You can also schedule your appointment online at: https://www.contractcallers.com/rwa/. The CCI technician may need to replace the water meter in your home, so please ensure it is accessible.

Q

Will my bill increase after AMI?

A

AMI will not result in any new or increased charges and in some cases will help you reduce your water bills. Many customers had their AMI meters installed before the summer months, when water use is at its highest. An increase in your water bill after the summer is caused by increased use, not by AMI. Your bills are likely to decrease in the fall and winter.

Q

Will the low-frequency signal interfere with my cellular telephone or any other equipment in my home?

A

The signal is low powered and will not disrupt any other signals, or control or operate any household appliances.

Q

How does AMI benefit the RWA’s water system?

A

This technology can enable a number of immediate short-term benefits for the region served by the RWA, including:

  • Increasing meter reading efficiency, improving field safety and reducing meter reading costs
  • Improving meter reading accuracy and reducing the number of estimated bills to customers

Q

Is the information transmitted by AMI secure?

A

The RWA has taken measures to ensure no personally identifiable information will be transmitted or stored at our AMI data portal. Only meter readings and specific meter data are transmitted through the secure AMI gateway to our office in New Haven. Once the encrypted data is received by the RWA, it is integrated for billing purposes, water consumption analysis and water theft prevention. The RWA treats individual customer data as confidential and will not share it with any outside party except pursuant to an order of the court.

Q

How will the RWA use my water usage data?

A

The data is only used for the RWA’s customer billing and network monitoring. The AMI system collects hourly water usage information, via secure, encrypted hardware and software. The data is secure, protected and safeguarded by RWA customer privacy practices.

Q

Can I opt-out of AMI?

A

An opt-out option is available as a courtesy to our customers. However, some customers will need to have their meters replaced, even if they opt-out of the AMI program. The current opt-out fee is $47 per billing period but is subject to change. This fee covers the cost of sending an RWA employee to manually read your bill. Once the AMI system is in place across the RWA’s water district, we will move to monthly billing. The manual reading fee will be applied to each monthly water bill.

Q

Who owns the meter and the new AMI device?

A

The AMI device and your water meter are owned by the RWA. Customers own their exterior water service line that connects their property to the water main, the outside meter pit, the outside water shut-off device and their inside plumbing.

The Regional Water Authority received a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Subsidized Loan to implement Advanced Metering Infrastructure. The DWSRF program is administered by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) with joint funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Connecticut. For more information on the DWSRF, please visit the DPH’s DWSRF website.

 

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